Planned Myrtle Beach man-made surf park to cost $54M, among handful of its kind in the world

New investors are backing plans to build America’s first man-made surf park in the heart of Myrtle Beach, but city leaders are creating a financial safety net should the project fail.

SurfWorks is putting more than $50 million into the attraction along 21 acres on Robert M. Grissom Parkway that includes a 10,000-seat amphitheater.

Under terms of a revised contract approved March 28, the city will have repurchasing rights for the property based on its appraised value of $4.5 million.

“This was really our safety measure that was put in place to protect the city. We have already agreed as a body to sell the property. This was to protect us at closing until they got all the financing in place,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said.

When it opens in 2024, the park is expected to return roughly $1 million a year in new revenue.

“While we don’t have a plan for that land if the surf park works out and operates for 100 years, that’s great. But if it doesn’t, we have the opportunity to buy it back so we can recoup that plottage value,” councilman Gregg Smith said.

The property will remain under a city deed through the fall as financing falls into place, assistant city manager Brian Tucker said.

“Because they have new investors, we believe it is best if they work through all of their ownership details and get their ownership structure clear before we close on the property and transfer it to them,” he said.

SurfWorks CEO Jeff Skelley said the Myrtle Beach park will be powered by a state-of-the art Wavegarden system, becoming just the seventh of its kind in the world.

“This type of technology is unlike any other that’s been around ... it creates a thousand waves an hour, we can put 90 surfers in the pool, it just changes everything,” he said.